Questions Of Cash: 'I'm upset over treatment at French Connection'
Saturday 20 March 2010
Q.We corresponded in 2008 regarding excessive bank charges, which you featured under the heading "I was broke but my bank still charged me". Guess what, I'm broke again! I have lost income during the recession, this has led to me being ill and I owe university fees. When you took up my complaint, the legal action on excessive fees had just begun. I was suffering financial hardship at the time of the charges, but this had eased by the time I made my claim, so the bank rejected my claim for a refund. Following the Supreme Court decision finding in favour of the banks, are there grounds for a refund of charges if a person again suffers financial hardship? RH, Hove.
A. Your bank, the RBS, explains: "If a customer's circumstances change, or if they have additional information to support their financial hardship claim, then they should contact the bank for their situation to be reviewed." When we again contacted RBS on your behalf, it referred your claim to the Office of Fair Trading Hardship Team. With help from Citizens Advice, you drew up an income and expenditure statement to demonstrate the extent of your hardship. The claim was then accepted. As a result, RBS has now agreed to repay you £718 in charges, which covers about six years'.
Q. I am very upset with a transaction involving French Connection. I bought a dress for £35 from its outlet in Watford in February. When I got home I realised it was a size too big. So, 48 hours later, I returned to the store to exchange the dress for the correct size. I was charged an extra £29 as the dress had gone up in price, despite the fact I had the receipt to prove I'd paid about half that cost two days earlier. This is so unfair! They don't offer refunds, so I was offered a credit note. Can they do this? AH, London.
A. As you made the error, there does not appear to be any obligation on French Connection to replace the goods for the price you paid. However, French Connection has agreed to repay you the extra £29 you paid and is also giving you an additional £30 voucher as an apology for not treating you in line with its own policies. The company says: "French Connection Watford were of course wrong in asking you to pay more for the exchange than you had originally purchased the item for and we have notified the area manager responsible for the store, who will be re-training the staff in both company procedures and customer services."
Q. In November 2008 Shell Gas changed its bank details for residential customers. I changed their ABN Amro account details with my own bank, IF, shortly afterwards and made several successful payments. However, I didn't realise that I had the last two digits of their account number the wrong way round. In November 2009 I made my usual payment and got a reminder from Shell a month later to say it was still waiting for payment. I only then discovered my error. The amount involved is over £470 and all my bank will do is to ask ABN Amro to request its customer to make a repayment, which they have not done. AC, Kinross.
A. We began our enquiries by contact IF, which is part of the Lloyds Banking Group. Its spokesman confirmed your explanation of what had happened. "The standing order was set-up incorrectly by the customer. We are making payments as he has directed to us via the SO he set-up." It assumes that someone at the destination bank was manually correcting the error, but this ceased to happen in November last year – presumably when a staff member left or changed jobs. "The money may be in a wrong account, or it may be in a suspense account awaiting correction," added the spokesman. "In any event – it has left us and is with ABN. The customer has advised my colleague that ABN won't speak to him to help. But they must speak to him."
We then contacted ABN Amro, which carried out an investigation and then advised us that the Shell account was one of those affected by the acquisition by RBS of much of the ABN business. At that point we took up the matter with RBS, by which time several weeks had passed. RBS located the funds the day after we reported the matter to them – but, by an amazing coincidence, apparently independently of us raising it with them. It has now transferred the payment to the correct Shell account.
Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we'll do our best to help. Please email us at: email@example.com
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...
£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...
£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...
Day In a Page
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads